I don’t know how it works in your house, but when we find a book series that works, we tend to consume every bit of printed material available. Because of this tendency, we’ve read LOTS of series over the years. I’ve attempted to keep my reviews a combination of series and freestanding books but over the next 3 entries, I’m just going to embrace our current reality and cover a few different collections that have been a hit in our home.
Today we have the Who Would Win? series, written by Jerry Pallotta and illustrated by Rob Bolster. Pallotta has really landed on a winning idea, particularly with boys in the 7-12 age range. The concept is simple: pair up two animals and determine who would prevail in a fight, based on various criteria. There are currently 23 volumes, though a few of them are compilations that will include animals that are also included in single books.
Some of the match ups seem really obvious, such as the Rattlesnake vs. Secretary Bird. But you know what? You could be wrong! My son and I often chose incorrectly before we started the books; oddly enough, my husband was always spot on in his guesses. You could easily make this an interactive activity by having each family member place their bets before you begin reading. It’s just a small thing you can do to get everyone a little more involved in book time.
A good place to start to determine your child’s interest might be Who Would Win? Battle Royale. This book includes five fights: rhino vs. hippo, wolverine vs. Tasmanian devil, Tyrannosaurus Rex vs Velociraptor, killer whale vs. great white shark and alligator vs. python. While being fully entertained by the tales of vicious battle (that’s what sells in my house), kids are also being educated about each animal’s anatomy and behavior. Each book includes photos, charts, diagrams and interesting facts.
The books are designed to be read together or independently. When read together, you could easily read one in 30 minutes, perfect for bedtime. Independently, my son would read for close to an hour or 90 minutes, depending on how interested he was in the animal. If it was a pairing that he found particularly fascinating, he would devour every fact and figure about them… and then repeat them over and over for the next week, ha!
The only downside I can really see with these books is that the readability is somewhat diminished once you know the outcome of the fight. But if your son lands on a volume that he really enjoys, he could easily read it over and over. If you’d rather check this series out without the financial commitment, I would definitely recommend checking them out from your local library. I know we’re in the middle (hopefully near the end, fingers crossed!) of a global pandemic but I’m grateful to my library for offering drive-through pickups. It has been an absolute lifesaver in this long weeks of quarantine!
I would recommend the Who Would Win? series for any kid who has expressed an interest in how animals live in the wild. I feel like this collection best lends itself to children who have already seen a wildlife documentary or two so they’re familiar with how animals have to fight to survive. Anyone who is looking for a cute puppies and kitties book will be disappointed. But if your child likes one, he’ll likely love the others in the collection. Again, there are 23 books in this series! Not counting duplicate battles in the compilations, that’s 38 animals with their own attributes for your child to master. With so many kids taking school virtually right now, these books provide a welcome respite from screens and give them a new understanding of a handful of the world’s wild animal population.